A brief breakdown of spirit, soul and body is helpful as we continue our study. Our body is obvious as we see, touch and interact with it. I understand our soul as our mind, will and emotions. We think, reflect, exercise choice and feel emotions. Our spirit has three functions as well – conscience, communion and intuition. My point is not to create fine distinctions as much as to identify processes. At the end of the day the Lord designed us to function as an integrated whole. With our spirit we encounter Him, we feel joy at His presence and open our lips and raise our hands in worship. A wholistic response to encountering His presence.
In looking at our spirit we grow fruit in it (Galatians 5:22-23), we commune with Jesus with it (Romans 8:14-16) and our conscience and discernment develops as our spirit is nourished by a daily diet of His word (1 Peter 2:2, Hebrews 5:13-14). Thus, if we are walking in the Spirit, we will experience the growth and maturing of the fruit of Jesus character in our lives, a deeper sense of His presence leading and guiding us and a clearer sense of the decisions He would have us make.
In my own life I remember a few years into my walk with Him I was going to do something, the what is not important and frankly I don’t remember exactly what it was I had planned. However, I had been feeding my spirit on His word. In the course of making a decision I very clearly heard inside of my spirit the following verse.
8 This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you. Galatians 5:8 (NKJV)
I didn’t do whatever it was I was going to do. This demonstrated to me the very obvious fruit of being in His word. I wasn’t sitting reading scripture when this happened, I was walking around somewhere but He used my time in His word to guide my decision making.
At other times I have had the sense to do or not do something but not from a scripture verse. It is more of an internal sense or leading. It may be an inner prompting to call someone or to pray for someone. Many of us have probably had the experience of thinking about someone and they call us or vice versa, we call them and they say, “I was just thinking about you.” He is very practical in how He leads us and as we pay attention to these inner promptings our relationship with Him deepens.
I have had dramatic examples of His leading over my 35 years of walking with Him. Yet most of the time it has been the simple promptings, a scripture or person coming to mind. I am committed to being in His word and find that out of that I grow in my knowing of His presence and purpose. I have things I am still seeking direction on, some that I have been holding before Him for many years. In cases like this I seek to trust that His direction will be revealed in His timing. It doesn’t mean I never question of wonder; it means that when I pause and reflect, I come to a place of rest in His faithfulness.
So, let us pay attention to His leading and promptings, let us nourish our spirits on His word and let us desire what Paul gave expression to, our whole being given over to His purpose.
23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 5:23 (NKJV)